Once again PacLII has proved itself an invaluable public legal resource by making all Appeal Court judgments available online within 24 hours of their being handed down.
The decision that has fixated everyone’s attention is Criminal Appeal Case 12 of 2015, titled Kalosil v Public Prosecutor. The judgment brings together six different appeals by the imprisoned MPs in this year’s bribery case.
The appeals on all sentences and convictions were dismissed.
The decision was written by a panel of four judges, led by Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek. It first considered the core facts of the case—that shortly before 21 October, a Hong Kong resident named Fong Man Kelvin sent half a million US dollars to the Pacific International Trust Company, or Pitco, as it’s known locally.
Shortly afterward, the equivalent of US$ 350,000 was transferred to Moana Carcasses, who was then leader of the Opposition. Much of that money was subsequently distributed in Vt1 million chunks to numerous MPs.
Before another month had passed, a motion of No Confidence was tabled in Parliament, featuring the signatures of all the appellants. Read more “Sey ‘Was Fully Justified’”
The words of President Baldwin Lonsdale will resound for some time to come in Vanuatu.
Yesterday, Vanuatu achieved something that still eludes many so-called developed countries. In a first not only in its own history, but arguably in Melanesia and in the Pacific, it set an example that, with a little luck and perspicacity, will keep future law makers from becoming law breakers.
Politics is a difficult, even dirty game, involving hard decisions. And hopefully, nobody is labouring under the delusion that all remaining politicians are unblemished paragons of virtue. But this country has successfully drawn a line, saying in effect, ‘Thus far, but no farther.’
We have not dealt with the problem of bartering cabinet positions for political support. We have not reconciled the judgment with kastom gift-giving and settlement ceremonies. We have not dealt with dozens of other ways in which our elites have sought advantage in the past.
But in respecting the trial process, the courts and the judges, we have preserved a critically important bastion of righteousness in public life.
Many people disagree with the decision that the Appeals Court upheld yesterday—and not simply out of mere allegiance to the affected parties. But as our leaders have done in the past, we trust and expect them to abide by the decision of the highest court in the land.
As Moana said when the initial verdict was handed down, “Respect the decision.” Read more “‘Nobody is above the law’”
It’s possible that the only lesson we can learn from Paris is regret.
Regret for the countless beloved dead. Regret that our sentiment didn’t reach to Beirut, to Damascus and beyond. Regret at the backlash we know is coming.
One of the first measures French President François Hollande was the closing of the borders. Ostensibly, this was to prevent more attackers from joining in the wave of terror still roiling Paris at the time of the announcement, and to prevent the perpetrators from fleeing.
But implicit to this measure is the assumption that foreigners did this; that no true Frenchman could do such a thing.
The ideological fight is being imported into France, that’s true. It is the extension of the ongoing war waged by extreme Islamists who oppose what they call the imperialism of the morally decadent West.
This is classic al Qaeda methodology: hit the soft targets, terrorise the civilian population and drive western governments to further abridge the freedom of their own people in order to destabilise and disrupt government, society and culture alike.
Drive foreign governments to strike harder against the Muslim peoples, creating more resentment and hate, and more soldiers for radical Islam.
This particular series of attacks was aimed at Paris’ youth. Read more “Against Intolerance”